ACP USRad Copper Brass or ColdCase Aluminum Radiator for 1971 Mustang 351 Cleveland, both are (3) Row

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1971stang

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Hi 7173 Mustangs Forum !

Trying to decide on what Radiator to buy and install in my 1971 Mustang Grande 351c 3-speed Auto.

I could keep it fairly original with copper brass core 3-row using ACP or US Radiator:

https://www.cjponyparts.com/acp-radiator-3-row-saddle-mount-302-351c-429-1971-1973/p/RAD3813/

https://usradiator.com/product/ford-mustang-1967-69-v8-260-289-302-351-radiator

or switch to an aluminum core 3-row using ColdCase:

https://www.coldcaseradiators.com/product/71-73-mustang-auto-aluminum-performance-radiator

Opinions on radiators seem to vary also, just like politics and grain or non-grain dog food, lol, I was always told Aluminum cools the best, now I found a forum that actually put down the Aluminum with thicker tubbing and put up the Copper/Brass models with the thinner tubbing.

https://www.allfordmustangs.com/threads/best-radiator-for-classic-v8-cars.1080543/

"3 core brass, or if you must, 2 core aluminum."

"Imps, any radiator is an engineering solution, and a compromise between surface area and flow. The copper tubes are softer in a brass radiator, and can only be made 'so wide' without wanting to collapse. Aluminum, despite being not-quite-so-good at conducting heat, is stiffer. That means a flattened tube can be wider, so it is.
Brass tubes are typically 1/2" wide, while aluminum ones are 1". By the time all is said and done, if you went to a 'three core' (three thicknesses of tubes and fins) with aluminum, you have more surface area to cool with (which is good!) but air has a much harder time making it through so you lose too much airflow. Same with 4-core+ brass radiators.
So, simply said: 2 core brass is not enough cooling, 4 cores inhibits airflow. One core aluminum is not enough, but 3 is far too much, and too thick."

Oh and I found another article which actually indicates the 351c is better off running HOT, less wear and tear on the motor ?

I had previously thought 180 degrees was optimal and less than that was okay to run a bit cooler from (170 - 175), but they were saying its okay to run at 200+ to keep moisture out...

https://www.tapatalk.com/groups/clevelands/how-hot-is-too-hot-for-a-cleveland-t9549.html

*What do folks on this forum think concerning the Radiators I mentioned and have any of you had good or bad luck with any of them ? 

I received great advice on my last post regarding Seat Tracks, which nobody else really knew about, so figured why not try to ask about Radiators.

This is going to be next project right after I install a PA Performance Alternator 1614e ALT56, which hopefully is Clocked correctly or close to 7:30 and I've got their 1G/3G convertor 462802C ATLCK, both sets of wires w/out w/ gauges WALT7A and WALT7B and 14 gauge power wire regular 9404 and electrolytic copper 9405.  Supposed to put out 60 AMPs at Idle and 120 AMPs at 2000 RPM, so a step up in the right direction...

Thank you kindly,

David

 
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I swapped over to a 2 row aluminum radiator 8 years ago when my brass radiator started leaking.  Still going strong without a single issue.  While I was in there, I also swapped out the water pump, hoses, and went with a 180 degree 351C correct thermostat.  I was worried the 2 row wouldn't provide enough cooling after dropping in Classic Auto Air AC.  However even on the hottest days sitting at idle, the temp stays at the bottom of the normal range on the stock gauge.

Regarding electrolysis, I don't believe an aluminum radiator is anymore susceptible to it than copper or brass.  Make sure your grounds are good, radiator isolated from ground, and don't use tap water.

 
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Up until sometime in the 60s or 70s all brass radiators were connected directly to the chassis. Electrolysis was not a problem. Chemical corrosion (sulphides and chlorides) are a problem when using tap water, as well as growth of sulphides plugging the tubes.

 
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I swapped over to a 2 row aluminum radiator 8 years ago when my brass radiator started leaking.  Still going strong without a single issue.  While I was in there, I also swapped out the water pump, hoses, and went with a 180 degree 351C correct thermostat.  I was worried the 2 row wouldn't provide enough cooling after dropping in Classic Auto Air AC.  However even on the hottest days sitting at idle, the temp stays at the bottom of the normal range on the stock gauge.

Regarding electrolysis, I don't believe an aluminum radiator is anymore susceptible to it than copper or brass.  Make sure your grounds are good, radiator isolated from ground, and don't use tap water.
From my quick search, it depends on which chart you bring up (when comparing aluminum or copper to cast iron)...the one thing that's required for galvanic corrosion is the presence of an electrolyte...that just means the fluid in contact with the two metals has to support some level of electrical conductivity.  The longer coolant remains in contact with the various metals, the more conductive it becomes.  This chart indicates that copper is a little better than aluminum, but brass is about the same as aluminum against cast iron.  I also found some showing aluminum and copper to be about the same, when paired with cast iron.  I know from experience that SST and aluminum don't get along well at all in a wet environment.

image.png

 
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I'm in a similar situation as the OP....need to decide if I want to re-core one of my copper/brass radiators or go with a new aluminum.  I have a 4 row copper that will probably need a new core....got a rough estimate of $450 for the core...not sure if that included the rebuild or just the core....in any case, it seems I can get a new aluminum for around the same cost.  

From what I understand, the copper/brass will be a little more forgiving if you don't stay on top of the coolant maintenance?  

 
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One of the keys for making an aluminum radiator last is to make sure that it is isolated from the chassis and not grounded to any metal or the battery.

The propensity for a coolant turning into an electrolyte is also important, use an antifreeze formulated for aluminum radiators, like Motorcraft Gold or Prestone All Vehicle, less likely for the coolant turning into an electrolyte. Dilute with distilled water, do not use any tap water. Regular old Prestone works fine for brass radiators, not so good for aluminum radiators. Never use just plain water, even distilled water, as the coolant.

 

1971stang

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I ended up going with an ACP 3-row copper/brass model that bolted right in to my 71 mustang 351c and looked identical to the original.

fyi for those concerned, it was also very light weight just like the aluminum model, between 40-50 lbs, so no difference there really.

Then I went with my original Ford Cast Iron water pump in great condition and cleaned up (heavier than aluminum and have both models), a steel Ford NOS goose neck or Thermostat Housing (painted fresh Ford Blue) for consistency and retained the original Ford Flex Fan after cleaning up and ensuring no defects (Ford had some problems with early model Flex Fans that I read about but I didn't like the new replacement model purchased although it was slightly more compact or smaller diameter for better clearance in the new fan shroud...).

Aluminum probably works fine if you have everything properly Grounded, my dad put one in their 79 corvette with (2) electric and and no problems for years...

Had this car 16 years now and she is almost done, many new parts and nice car overall, Interior redone, Suspension redone, Engine Bay redone, a beautiful Grande w/ recessed back window and Vinyl roof, which you really don't see many of these days; apparently they were more popular back in the day (71 - 73) with families and wives because they actually had a trunk and were practical, but not with most restoration guys that prefer fastbacks, so many were scrapped and let go to the junkyards.  If anybody is interested I compiled of list of what I did to the car, just let me know.  Thanks for your input !

 
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rio1856

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I ended up going with an ACP 3-row copper/brass model that bolted right in to my 71 mustang 351c and looked identical to the original.

fyi for those concerned, it was also very light weight just like the aluminum model, between 40-50 lbs, so no difference there really.

Then I went with my original Ford Cast Iron water pump in great condition and cleaned up (heavier than aluminum and have both models), a steel Ford NOS goose neck or Thermostat Housing (painted fresh Ford Blue) for consistency and retained the original Ford Flex Fan after cleaning up and ensuring no defects (Ford had some problems with early model Flex Fans that I read about but I didn't like the new replacement model purchased although it was slightly more compact or smaller diameter for better clearance in the new fan shroud...).

Aluminum probably works fine if you have everything properly Grounded, my dad put one in their 79 corvette with (2) electric and and no problems for years...

Had this car 16 years now and she is almost done, many new parts and nice car overall, Interior redone, Suspension redone, Engine Bay redone, a beautiful Grande w/ recessed back window and Vinyl roof, which you really don't see many of these days; apparently they were more popular back in the day (71 - 73) with families and wives because they actually had a trunk and were practical, but not with most restoration guys that prefer fastbacks, so many were scrapped and let go to the junkyards.  If anybody is interested I compiled of list of what I did to the car, just let me know.  Thanks for your input !
Your car sounds pretty cool! You have any pics of her so we can see what she looks like?

 
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